The Coast News Group
Lynda Franklin, wearing her signature Hooray for Hollywood hat, presents energetic PowerPoint presentations about the Golden Age of Hollywood for residents of assisted living facilities with photos, music, quotes and humor. Not only are the programs entertaining, they bring back memories for her audience, whose average age is 85. Courtesy photo

Local woman brings Golden Age of Hollywood to seniors

CARLSBAD — Lynda Franklin is not a super fan of the Turner Classic Movies channel.

She said she had no interest in classic movies beyond popcorn and watching a movie now and then until she discovered something very powerful. The movies were a way to reach residents of assisted living facilities, whose average age is about 85.

She uses a PowerPoint presentation on big screen televisions showing movies to highlight Hollywood’s Golden Age of the movies through interaction, photos, music, quotes and humor.

Just about anyone who has seen one of Franklin’s programs will probably agree they had a rollicking good time.

Each month is a new program saluting comedians, musicals, the holidays or a specific year in film showing several genres of movies and profiles of movie stars.

At Oscar time, the activity directors of assisted living facilities start asking for a program to show at their Oscar parties, she said.

Franklin puts together an energetic presentation using stars, music and movies from the past so the residents can identify and then adds a sprinkling of the current nominees and movies.

She now has 20 programs that she writes and produces herself and each takes about a month at around five hours a day to complete.

“Each program is new and contains a variety of movie genres, profiles of stars and a look behind the scenes with some gossip which I like to call, ‘sharing pertinent information,’” she said

Franklin’s background is in elder care.

She began her career as a teacher. Then she began as an activity director in a retirement home, then expanded into sales and marketing, dementia care and then became executive director at an assisted living facility.

Franklin worked at Belmont Village in Cardiff for five years in several positions including activity director.

When she retired in 2010, she realized she missed the people with whom she had been working.

“I couldn’t stay away,” she said.

So, she created a program which is interactive, reminiscent and educational with pictures, music and laughter.

“I call it Hooray for Hollywood,” she said. “It is a sentimental look back at the movies and the stars who made them from the Golden Age of Hollywood.”

Her first program was done holding up cardboard with photos of the stars and their movies.

“I knew nothing about PowerPoint,” the 72-year-old Carlsbad resident said.

She asked for help from a friend, a third-grade teacher, to teach her the basics of what she needed to know, she said.

The idea behind the programs is for the residents to keep their writing, reading and verbal skills.

She said she learns something new all the time and she thinks that is important for everyone of every age.

Her interactive programs about eras ask residents questions such as: “What music were you listening to? What were you wearing? What was in the news?” She then moves on to movies and stars.

One program spotlights comedians of the 1940s and 1950s in which residents can identify and learn a little about the personal lives of such giants as Bob Hope, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

Another program might profile a specific star.

She presents her programs monthly to the residents of Belmont Village, Sunrise at La Costa, Las Villas de Carlsbad and Sunrise of Sabre Springs.

She earns about $100 for her hour, but she said that mostly covers expenses such as a dollar for each song purchased from iTunes and supplies for her presentations.

Barbara Shockley, who retired from Belmont a few years ago, said that even away from retirement homes, Franklin is practically a celebrity, she is so well known for her programs.

“People are always excited waiting for her to get there,” Shockley said.

“Some of the people have memory problems, but they go there and participate. She can relate to them and she can draw out some great memories,” she said. “She is one of a kind.”

To learn more about Franklin and her programs, call her at (760) 420-2460 or email her at [email protected].